We’ve all been there before – the first time you try a new advertising platform. While there are general consistencies you can prepare for using past experience, there are always learning curves to any new channel.

Facebook hosts over 1.87 billion monthly active users as of 2017. No one is arguing that Facebook is a legitimate social media platform, or even that advertising is a viable source of revenue for businesses, ecommerce and lead gen alike. But all your eagerness to get up to speed on Facebook can lead you to make inaccurate assumptions or even mistakes along the way. To assist you, my dear aspiring PPC Heroes, I’ve surveyed a host of advertisers who were once like you, about their early days of Facebook marketing. What nuggets of wisdom do they have to pass along?

I present you with 7 caveats you’ll be glad you know as you master the art of Facebook advertising.

1) Tracking/Tagging

  • Don’t forget to update your ad URL parameters – When duplicating ads in Facebook, it’s easy as pie to forget about updating the URL parameters. I’ve heard many a tale of account managers only realizing they had overlooked call tracking or CRM parameters when backend performance looked miserable. Don’t forget to check off the URL parameters from your ad build process!
  • Check your pixel setup – You think you’ve placed (or your kindly developer has placed) the FB pixel properly but quickly find out that it’s not correctly tracking!
    • Solution – Use an extension like Ghostery or Google Tag Assistant to verify that your pixel is up and running on your site.

2) Audience List

  • Set up your audience lists properly – You created an audience list around a specific URL and sent tons of traffic to this page but the audience list didn’t grow!
    • Solution – Turns out Facebook settings can be a bit finicky with your URL specification. Instead of choosing a URL that equals your exact page, use a regular expression setting that “includes” your URL.
  • Be sure to exclude audiences from other ad sets/campaigns – Don’t over-serve your ads to the same people unintentionally. Take audience lists you’re already showing ads to and exclude them from other segments. Once you see how each audience performs, you can target your top performers most effectively.
  • Cross-audience traffic happens like easily! – Excluding all the right audiences is crucial, so be sure to make careful choices about Facebook page “likes,” remarketing lists, as well as interests or demographics that overlap with each.
  • Test your audiences before focusing on one – Do general remarketing lists work better than lists focusing on interest-specific targets? Gather data on your targeting groups before just assuming Google or Bing insights will apply.

3) Ad Serving

  • If you intend to run ad scheduling at some point, avoid the easy mistake of having to rebuild everything. Make sure to initially set up the campaign with an end date and a lifetime budget when you first create it.
  • Over saturating audiences with stale ad copy – Wake up Facebook advertisers! If you’re showing ads that generate little engagement, the worse your relevance becomes. This can lead to higher costs and lower scale overall. Don’t just set your content free and assume it’ll generate data for you to review and base optimizations upon. You need to monitor frequency and freshen up ad copy regularly to avoid ad fatigue. When you see performance start to die off it’s a good idea to check on your frequency to action ratio.

4) Ad Copy Messaging

  • Writing lead gen ads on social is different from Bing Ads or AdWords – Facebook doesn’t use the same sales language as Google, Bing, or other search engines. Social is more of a display approach – you are showing ads that the user didn’t explicitly ask for. Don’t just copy your search engine creative and throw it into Facebook. Get the users’ attention, draw them in and nurture the interest or targeting that put your ad in front of them in the first place. *Sensitive industries especially warrant a gentler message than a SERP ad may include. Don’t just try out new copy, test a few variations of tones, emotions, formats, and imagery in your ads.

5) Budget Management

  • Don’t think you can just copy and paste your budgeting structure from AdWords or Bing. Budgets are managed at the ad set level [ad group to you dealing in Google/Bing speak]. Although this isn’t a deal breaker, it forces you to think through your structure even more.

6) Attribution

  • Don’t overlook reporting on funnel support – Focusing solely on last click will not provide the true impact Facebook has on total conversions. When discussing the impact of social advertising, you need to include (in some way, your choice) assisted conversions and other engagement metrics along with last click conversions. While it’s not the “sure thing” of the olden PPC days, it’s a very real part of the picture.
  • Don’t make the mistake of only focusing on direct ROAS or CPL no matter the targeting method. What kinds of audiences are you reaching? How is brand awareness improving? Only zeroing in on a sales metric could make you conclude or eliminate content that actually is positively impacting your business.

7) User Comments (In The Ad Manager)

  • Look out for user comments. – There’s a column for it in the ads manager but it’s easy to overlook, as it’s not really part of your advertising strategy. People (and bots) will happily post on your ad, and even end up having a conversation start in the thread. Are you kidding me? But yes, it’s true, so be sure to mind your comments!

Final Thoughts

Are these tips earth-shattering insights? Perhaps not. But are they enough of a protection against doing or missing something stupid, which could even cost you your business and/or your job? Very possibly. The point is that we each have something to learn when entering a new platform or advertising space. And learning from others mistakes or “oh crap” moments might just save you, too!